We just didn't know what to do...
Our journey started in 2006 with our then 10 year old son whom we knew was very bright, yet he did everything he could to avoid school. He became increasingly aware of his learning challenges and started exhibiting various psychosomatic ailments (headaches, stomach aches, dizziness) which resulted in lost school time and an increasing aversion to going to school. We became deeply concerned about his academic future as he increasingly would say things like "I suck at reading" and "I suck at everything".
Our research then led us to Scientific Learning Company's Fast ForWord software products. We discovered that they offered a remedial approach that was completely different from anything we had tried before. After extensive research we learned that rather than trying to teach the struggling reader, the program stimulated, activated and strengthened the parts of the brain responsible for for reading and learning. We learned that children who struggle with reading and learning often simply have not developed the connections or pathways in the brain which enable them to easily perform these tasks.
Our son started the first module of Fast ForWord in the spring and worked through the summer on a second and third module. His development was remarkable. The most exciting validation of his hard work came at the beginning of the next school year when his teacher, who had also been his teacher the previous year, remarked that our son seemed like a very different student in her class. She reported that he was full of self-esteem and confidence, grounded, happy and engaged in his school work. His grades which had been below average improved dramatically.
Our son is now in high school. He has completed all formative and Reading modules associated with the program. He attends school eagerly and has missed only a few days of school over the past several years. Today he is very proud of his accomplishments, enjoys school and is doing well. We are now trained and certified providers of this amazing software and have team of equally dedicated and passionate staff who are excited to bring this powerful ground-breaking intervention to struggling students in Vancouver and beyond.
Our Early Warning Signs
Our son exhibited several early warning signs of his learning disability. Had we the knowledge then that we have now, we would have recognized that our son had an auditory processing disorder. He spoke at a relatively late age; when he turned two years of age he was just beginning to put two words together. When he did start to speak he often miss-pronounced words. We thought it was cute and didn't understand that this was another early sign of an auditory processing disorder. Had we been able to bring Fast ForWord to him earlier, we could have saved him years of internal turmoil and frustration.
Before finding the neurological remedial approach for learning challenges, we researched and/or tried the following remedial strategies:
An internationally recognized program to develop strong math and English language skills. Our son developed sound basic math skills in Kumon but reached a point where his progress was laboured and slow. The same difficulties that were causing him to struggle with reading were impeding his progress with Kumon. He was not a candidate for the Kumon reading program.
A widely used multi-sensory phonics based tool for tutoring struggling readers. Our son made some improvement but his gains plateaued after two years and he still was not able to engage at a proficient level in the classroom.
The Language Tune-up Kit
An excellent software program incorporating the principals of Orton Gillingham. Our son completed this program which complemented his one-on-one Orton Gillingham tutoring experience. Again, his gains plateaued and his reading ability was still well below grade level.
AutoSkills, Academy of Reading
A software program that requires the student to deliver responses to visual stimulus within milliseconds of accuracy. Our son engaged in this program at his school. After a year and a half we requested he be taken out of the program as he was not exhibiting any success with the exercises. After attending his sessions for several weeks I observed that the program seemed predicated on failure. He had to fail fifteen times before receiving any intervention from his special education teacher. This was devastating for his self-esteem and further eroded his self-confidence.
The Phonics Game
A card based game with many levels of increasing complexity. This took a long time and we reached a point where it was beyond his ability and interest. We concluded that a parent administered remedial strategy was not going to work for us.
The Eaton Arrowsmith School
This is a school based on neuroscientific research. It offers an effective, highly intensive remedial approach for students with learning disabilities. As we wanted to keep our son in our local public school, this was not an option.
Davis Dyslexia Method
A kinesthetic approach to acquiring language skills. Primarily for early intervention for a small minority of kinesthetic learners.
Reading & Learning PATHWAYS serves students in North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Burnaby and is the only Learning Center on the North Shore that specializes in the administration of these life-changing programs.
Reading & Learning Pathways is a distinguished provider of Scientific Learning's Fast ForWord software and a proud finalist in the North Shore News' 2015 Reader's Choice Awards for favorite Educational Program.